It is reported that the world experiences about 20000 earthquakes per annum. These may be highly destructive or milder earthquakes that do not cause damage. Earthquakes with higher magnitudes are strong enough to destroy homes and cause considerable damage.
Suppose your house is destroyed in an earthquake. In that case, you must file a complaint with the government, file a claim with your insurance company, report the damage, request government aid, look for loans, find temporary accommodation, and then begin rebuilding your home.
These steps are covered in detail below, along with advice on dealing with an earthquake’s emotional impact.
File A Claim
After any natural disaster, reporting the damages inflicted on you is crucial. Governments urge their people to do so; this helps document the extent of the natural disaster and makes it easier to identify legitimate cases and help them.
Ensure that you do so so that you are included in the restoration plans and that the government helps you with rehabilitation.
Moreover, if you had a house, you must have had insurance. It is important to file a claim with your insurance company immediately. Make sure you let them in on the important details, such as the damage caused, the steps you took to save yourself, and the earthquake’s intensity.
Request Government Aid
As mentioned above, governments carry out rehabilitation programs and offer aid to those affectees by any natural disaster. To get a prompt response from the government, file an official request for financial aid to help you rebuild the house, move to a safe location temporarily, and live for a few days.
The government will help you out as they have funds allocated to efforts that provide relief to the affectees.
Negotiate With Your Mortgage Servicer
It is foreseeable that you will be unable to pay off your mortgage installments in time when an earthquake hits your area. You may use this to negotiate with your mortgage company a reduction in the installments or a waiver for a considerable time until you can get back on your feet. Mortgage servicers usually allow for concessions or ease in times of natural disasters.
Look For Loans
This may also be a good time to look for loans to help fund your accommodation and living costs until relief is provided. You could also take out bigger loans to rebuild your home; the government may give these, or you may seek out private companies or banks.
Based on your situation, it is likely that the interest rates would be lower on these loans.
Find Temporary Accommodations
Finding a place to live in for the time being before you can figure out what to do next is very important. The state provides temporary shelters right after the disaster has hit; however, these shelters are shut down after a specified period, and finding accommodations on your own is crucial.
If you are eligible and able to prove the legitimacy of being affected, FEMA offers the following assistance:
- Transitional Sheltering Assistance
- Reimbursement of hotel expenses
- Providing initial money to pay rent and then other rental assistance
Begin The Rebuilding Process
Your destroyed home will need to be rebuilt at some point. It is a good idea to begin rebuilding as soon as possible. You may take the following steps:
- Get a professional to assess the damage
- Create a plan to fix it and build a stronger, earthquake-resistant home.
- Get a loan or acquire funding
- Expedite the process so you may move in as soon as possible.
Safety Measures To Take To Secure The New Home
Safety and preparedness for an earthquake must be on your radar if you live in an area susceptible to earthquakes. Some recommended additions you may make to your new home to avoid the detrimental impacts of the earthquake if it is to happen again include the following.
Strong Foundation – A strong foundation is integral to the safety of your home, regardless of whether it is in an earthquake-prone area or not. Plenty of retrofitting plans are available to improve the house’s strength if you do not wish to build the foundation from scratch.
The retrofitting plans work with existing structures and significantly enhance their durability.
Use earthquake-resistant building materials – Some building materials are tailored to withstand seismic waves. Incorporating such materials when building the home can help to increase the home’s ability to resist the force of an earthquake.
Get in touch with an expert to plan out which materials would be ideal.
Install earthquake-resistant windows – Earthquakes tend to shatter windows; hence, windows made of tempered glass are ideal for reducing the chances of shattering and injury.
Get a seismic gas shut-off valve – A seismic gas shut-off valve automatically shuts off the gas supply to the home, reducing the risk of gas leaks and potential fires when an earthquake occurs.
Seek Psychological Help
The loss of a home and the trauma of surviving a natural disaster can be a lot to deal with. It gets even more concerning if you lose family members or loved ones in the calamity. The event comes with many issues, including financial, social, and personal; these impact your mental health.
To help deal with it, it is advised that you seek professional psychological counseling to work through the trauma. This will help you have a clear head and plan your life ahead and may provide a lot of relief.
Governments or NGOs usually set up free counseling sessions during natural disasters to psychologically rehabilitate the affectees. This might be a good opportunity to avail yourself if you do not wish to bear the cost of seeking help.
Not all earthquakes can destroy houses; factors such as the intensity and time of the earthquake determine whether that happens or not. Homes with stronger foundations and floor plans that resist earthquakes fare better in such times; hence, such home investments are encouraged.